G7 foreign ministers support extension of pause in Gaza war
Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven countries support the further extension of the current pause in fighting in Gaza and future pauses to increase assistance and facilitate the release of all hostages, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The current truce brought the besieged Gaza Strip its first respite after seven weeks of bombardment that has reduced much of the coastal strip to rubble and killed more than 15,000 people, including mostly women and children.
The G7 statement also welcomed the release of some of the captives seized on October 7 by Hamas when the group launched an assault on Israel that reportedly killed around 1,200 people, according to Israel.
"Every effort must be made to ensure humanitarian support for civilians. ... We support the further extension of this pause and future pauses as needed to enable assistance to be scaled up, and to facilitate the release of all hostages," the joint statement added.
Hamas has freed 12 more hostages and Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday, the fifth day of an extended six-day truce between the Palestinian group and Israel amid the war on Gaza.
The total number of hostages released by Hamas since the start of the truce last Friday now stands at 81, while Israel has freed 180 prisoners.
"We, as the G7, urge the release of all hostages immediately and unconditionally," the G7 statement said.
It argued "Israel's right to defend itself and its people" but underscored the importance of "protecting civilians and compliance with international law."
It also said the G7 was committed to a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.
The G7 foreign ministers cautioned against further escalation of the conflict.
"Emphasising the importance of maritime security, we call on all parties not to threaten or interfere with the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by all vessels," a statement released by G7 chair Japan read.
"We especially call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks on civilians and threats to international shipping lanes and commercial vessels and release the M/V Galaxy Leader and its crew, illegally seized from international waters on November 19," it added.